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#41 Christian

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 04:19 PM

Well, I'll just say you have a very serious reason to be concerned about this movie, then. I mean... yikes. YIKES.

Seconded. I winced during a certain scene that in other movies would've pulverized me into numbness and would have later made me hate the movie. That didn't happen in Drive, perhaps because there are other elements to the sequence in question that are superbly executed.

I didn't feel strongly about Drive for the same reasons as Jeffrey, but am happy to be a co-belligerent in advocating for this film. It's spectacular. Had The Tree of Life not come out this year, Drive would be my number 1 movie of 2011. As it is, it's a strong second place.

Here's Chris Orr. I think I'd echo every word of his review.

Edited by Christian, 16 September 2011 - 04:19 PM.


#42 Overstreet

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 04:24 PM

I didn't feel strongly about Drive for the same reasons as Jeffrey, but am happy to be a co-belligerent in advocating for this film...


Well, actually, I haven't spelled out the reasons I feel strongly about it. I've only made a few rather tangential observations. I'm saving what I *really* love about it for my actual review, which I'd publish today if I wasn't helping Anne get ready for her book release party tonight...

#43 Overstreet

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 04:29 PM

And you're right about Orr's review. I was nodding in agreement all the way through.

Especially here:

The less said of the plot, I think, the better: Though its premises are conventional enough, it swerves down unexpected avenues. Going into the film, I knew very little of what was to take place, and I wouldn't have had it any other way.



#44 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 06:34 PM

So how does the scene y'all are talking about compare to a certain scene in American History X?

#45 Ryan H.

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 09:33 PM

I dug DRIVE despite its exceptional brutality and goriness. It's just so marvelously atmospheric. DRIVE doesn't really boil down to anything other than a stylistic exercise (I don't expect to see any spectacular critical analyses of the film), but it executes that style so terribly well, and, for the most part, ticks all the right boxes. I was impressed by how terrifying Gosling managed to be. I knew he was a fine actor, but I never expected him to exude that degree of menace.

A nit-pick: I did feel the film sagged a bit in its final third. The build-up to the climax had offered so much potential, but the ending came almost too quickly, with not enough struggle for Driver to overcome.

#46 David Smedberg

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 09:49 PM

So what you're saying is, it's a Tarantino film, basically.

Yeesh. I read this post earlier today, and it didn't even set off warning bells for me! And it totally should have, considering how the violence in Tarantino movies is a HUGE stumbling block for me.

Well guess what: the violence in this movie is a huge stumbling block for me. I feel as though Drive were an orgy of blood--and I'd got erectile dysfunction.

Edited by David Smedberg, 16 September 2011 - 09:56 PM.


#47 Ryan H.

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Posted 16 September 2011 - 09:56 PM

I won't blame anyone who dislikes DRIVE on the basis of its violence. I've been outraged by less. But for whatever strange reason, the violence didn't hit me like it did in so many other films. Admittedly, I looked away at parts (and at other places I wished I'd looked away), but those moments didn't overwhelm the film for me. Maybe it's because I didn't feel them the way I really feel the violence in a movie like PAN'S LABYRINTH. I dunno.

Edited by Ryan H., 16 September 2011 - 10:02 PM.


#48 Nick Olson

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 12:33 AM

Saw Drive tonight. I suppose this is stating the obvious at this point (or perhaps it is just being redundant?): I was really impressed with Gosling in this one.

Jeffrey, I totally agree with you about ending the film just a bit earlier -- I know exactly which moment you're referring to...and I think it would have fit in well with the rest of the film. That said, I'm not too disappointed with the actual ending--perhaps it is best in a way that the focus is on the driving and not the driver...

Wow...I really did some wincing here, and yet while most films with this kind of violence would have turned me off, this didn't. I'm still not sure what to think about this, to be honest. The film - right down to the poster - reminded me of A History of Violence. Who is this Driver? What is his history? In retrospect, they handled the previews for this film brilliantly. The details were scant and this is appropriate given the obscure past of the driver. I love the scene they give us when he is approached by a fellow from his past...don't go there.

The film, then, ends up like a wild ride - I was never quite sure where it was going next.

The director's approach is excellent. One of my favorite moments is when we first see him kill anyone. The way he fades out in the end of the scene is powerful. The silences in the film are wonderful. I was pleasantly surprised at the humor. And for me, most of it came in the driver's interactions with the boy. I recognize that this is a pretty formulaic film, but I did think it interesting observing the driver's interactions with the boy. He has a boyish innocence about him that I think is part of what endears him to us in spite of his brutal nature. I swear, for a second, I wondered if those initial killings were his first (this, despite how meticulous and professional he is at it!).

I've gotta say, Christian: I loved the jacket. If he is shrouded in mystery, then the jacket is what gives him a mystique as well.

That's interesting about Brett's review; I gotta say: toting the film's "redeeming message" hasn't exactly crossed my mind since I saw it earlier this evening!

#49 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 02:52 AM

Meh.

There were points in this film where I was very conscious of the fact that Gosling was an ACTOR who was merely ACTING in this role and not, y'know, the actual character. He rang hollow in ways that none of the other actors quite did.

But who cares about the acting? This movie was all about the "style". The director. And the directorial "style". Which, again, didn't do much for me, except for a sequence here or there. (And the way the note-perfect '80s-style tune, which worked so well at the beginning of the film, began to feel a bit stale and affected when it was repeated at the end... well, it reminded me of how Rubber killed one of its best moments by recycling it over the closing credits.)

Flimsy, flimsy, flimsy. Which makes the effort to find a "redeeming message" in this film (or, indeed, any message at all) all the more... well, pick your own adjective here. But it's all too typical of the evangelical impulse to justify one's "engagement" with "the culture", etc.

#50 Ryan H.

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 07:10 AM

There were points in this film where I was very conscious of the fact that Gosling was an ACTOR who was merely ACTING in this role and not, y'know, the actual character. He rang hollow in ways that none of the other actors quite did.

I had the opposite response. I thought Gosling seemed so genuine that everybody else around him seemed a bit false.

Anyway, my favorite use of music in the film is definitely "Oh My Love," the cue that plays in the build-up to Driver taking on Nino.

Edited by Ryan H., 17 September 2011 - 07:19 AM.


#51 Christian

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 08:34 AM

Well guess what: the violence in this movie is a huge stumbling block for me. I feel as though Drive were an orgy of blood--and I'd got erectile dysfunction.


Sorry about this, David. I think a few of us tried to lay out that we enjoyed the film despite the violence, or if not "despite" it, that we weren't as put off by it in this film as in others. I'm having a hard time justifying this, but am gratified in some way to learn that others share the reaction. I did try to steer folks away from
Spoiler
although I don't think I mentioned that
Spoiler
.

I've gotta say, Christian: I loved the jacket. If he is shrouded in mystery, then the jacket is what gives him a mystique as well.

Ha! Hey, I'm not a style guru and am willing to admit that my tastes might be way off here.

Which makes the effort to find a "redeeming message" in this film (or, indeed, any message at all) all the more... well, pick your own adjective here. But it's all too typical of the evangelical impulse to justify one's "engagement" with "the culture", etc.

Have others been making the case that the film is redemptive? I guess I could get to that, if I was interested in justifying the film on those grounds, but I'm happy to champion it for, as you mentioned, its style alone, or its style in addition to its fantastic performances, or its visual style combined with its soundtrack, or its ...

One thing I'd like to hear about from those who have seen the film: Were you moved by the speech from the man who
Spoiler
? I took that as, if not "repentance," which has (for me) a specifically religious connotation, at least an honest apology in an era of the "nonapology apology." His subsequent actions aren't fully within his control and didn't seem to indicate a
Spoiler
.

I haven't read anything about that scene in the reviews I've seen, but that moment, although rather brief, went a long way toward making me admire this film.

#52 Nick Olson

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 09:02 AM

Well I thought the jailed husband's story was important, in part, in that it seemed like the elevator scene was kinda the point when she realized there wasn't going to be a relationship with the Driver -- not just because he just did what he did in the elevator, but because he was the "Deluxe version" of her husband...

And I like Jeffrey's comment on: the timing of the kiss!

Also: I need to learn how to include the spoiler boxes...

Edited by Nicholas, 17 September 2011 - 09:01 AM.


#53 Ryan H.

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 01:27 PM

One thing I'd like to hear about from those who have seen the film: Were you moved by the speech from the man who

Spoiler
?

No, because I was far too suspicious of his character at that point for it to register as the truth.

#54 David Smedberg

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 02:03 PM


Well guess what: the violence in this movie is a huge stumbling block for me. I feel as though Drive were an orgy of blood--and I'd got erectile dysfunction.


Sorry about this, David. I think a few of us tried to lay out that we enjoyed the film despite the violence, or if not "despite" it, that we weren't as put off by it in this film as in others. I'm having a hard time justifying this, but am gratified in some way to learn that others share the reaction. I did try to steer folks away from
Spoiler
although I don't think I mentioned that
Spoiler
.

Not to worry, Christian... I think I was focused too much on the advertising (which, like the title, make Drive sound like a racing movie, which it's not) and too little on what people on A&F were saying. I've been excited about seeing this for several weeks!

#55 Nick Olson

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Posted 17 September 2011 - 05:06 PM

Just read Orr's review: "I was buzzing when I left the theaters. And I'm still buzzing." Yes, definitely!

And I really admire Orr's ability to allude without giving much away here. It is a good piece for me to observe in this way...

#56 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 12:20 AM

Christian wrote:
: . . . I don't think I mentioned that the semi-automatic gun attack (or was it a "machine gun"? don't know my weapons terminology) was shockingly bloody and sudden . . .

I dunno, I thought the slow-motion and everything helped give the game away, at least a few seconds in advance (which is all you need to avoid being "shocked"). Though I guess I might have been alert to something like that happening, because Glenn Kenny's review concluded on this note:

I'd recommend to viewers who want to maintain their good impression of this picture to check out a couple of minutes after the character played by Christina Hendricks does. That's the spot at which "Drive" has been all that it could be.

But the funny thing was, Gosling's acting had already begun to ring hollow for me, even in the very scene preceding that moment, so I didn't see a sharp distinction between the before and after parts of the film.

: Have others been making the case that the film is redemptive?

Well, the phrase I used was "redeeming message", not "redemptive film", but I was thinking of that CT Movies bit that Overstreet quoted here earlier:

Beneath the façade of blood, guts, and synth is a somewhat redeeming message about trying to right past wrongs and escape the cycle of crime and violence. Not to mention the classic noir message: "crime doesn't pay."

Personally, I don't see any of those "redeeming messages" in the film. And since when has the "classic noir message" been that "crime doesn't pay"? What happened to nihilism and existential angst? When the dog chases the luggage truck at the end of The Killing, thereby scattering the criminal's bag of stolen money to the winds, the message is not that "crime doesn't pay" but that all our plans are doomed in the end.

I'm reminded of how some reviews have asserted that the Driver has a "code". No he doesn't. A "code" implies a code of honour, a set of principles, or something. What the Driver has is a SYSTEM.

: Were you moved by the speech from the man who is released from prison, and who apologizes for his past?

Moved? Not particularly, but if the movie had built on it more, I might have been. I did appreciate the ambiguity around that character and his relationship to the Ryan Gosling character.

#57 Christian

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 12:32 PM

Not to worry, Christian... I think I was focused too much on the advertising (which, like the title, make Drive sound like a racing movie, which it's not) and too little on what people on A&F were saying. I've been excited about seeing this for several weeks!

I read your comment yesterday then went to Facebook, where a friend mentioned several prominent film bloggers who were lukewarm toward the film. I foolishly submitted a comment, with our exchange in mind, that maybe those writers came to the film with wrong expectations. Wouldn't you know that one of the bloggers was reading the post and took me to the woodshed almost immediately, calling me "What's His Name" and quickly dismissing the idea that he might have been ill-informed when he went to see the film.

I deserved the shot, but ... ouch.

Edited by Christian, 18 September 2011 - 07:33 PM.


#58 Scholar's Parrot

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Posted 18 September 2011 - 07:20 PM

Saw this with my roommates today. Man, that style! And the lighting in cars! And all those mirrors! And the sounds! I was enthralled.

I am going to remake this movie. It will be set 150 years in the past. Replace all the cars with horses. Replace toothpicks with cigars. Replace diners with saloons. Change name to Ride. Done.

#59 Nick Olson

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Posted 19 September 2011 - 03:26 PM

Some interesting featurettes with Gosling, Mulligan, and Refn have been posted on the Apple movie trailers site. You all may want to check them out.

#60 Peter T Chattaway

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 01:30 PM

Steve Sailer @ Taki's Magazine:

Whatever happened to the femme fatale? From Mary Astor in The Maltese Falcon and Barbara Stanwyck in Double Indemnity to Kathleen Turner in Body Heat and Linda Fiorentino in The Last Seduction, the silky seductress who lures some poor sap into her web of betrayal was the central element of the noir genre of moody urban crime films. But today, female characters tend to be either Butt-Kicking Babes or Passive Victims. . . .

Richard Brody @ New Yorker:

For a film centered on the madness arising from reason, it’s singularly devoid of irony; for one built on absurd contrasts, it’s humorless; for one based on rapid calculations based on changing circumstances, it’s ludicrously impractical. Anthony rightly points out how incongruous it seems that, after committing a particularly bloody murder (in an elevator), The Driver goes outside still wearing his blood-smeared jacket, as if begging to be stopped and questioned. But the silliest aspect to that sequence is one that Refn didn’t shoot and likely didn’t imagine: what happened when the next party rang for the elevator. The discovery could have been played for horror, comedy, or, for that matter, a police procedural; but it would have been something rather than nothing, and would have indicated that the movie was conceived in terms of a world rather than a set. . . .

It would be giving the movie too much credit to call it amoral (in the sense of being transgressively devoid of a moral code); it’s merely devoid of moral implications. If there’s anything to extract from the experience beside Refn’s amusement at his own staging of violence, it’s the notion of duplicity: the poker face as the key to success, and the suggestion that anyone who makes it in any walk of life, legit or not, does so as a real cool killer. Does that include movie directors? Not only does Refn not tip his hand, he doesn’t even show his poker face. . . .

Albert Brooks on how he got the part:

Brooks: Nicolas says, “So, why do you think you should play this?” And I had a very good answer for him. I said, “The same 10 people always play the bad guy, so if you want everybody to think your movie’s old hat, cast them.” We talked some more, and he told me that when he was younger he sat in a theater and watched “Lost in America” and I scared him when I yelled at my wife. So then I pinned him up against the wall to show him I had strong arms, and I left.

Wait, did you really pin him? Did he know you were going to?

Brooks: I really did. He had no idea. And let me tell you something; for a guy who films all this violence, I don’t think he likes to be touched. I just grabbed him. It was at the end of the interview and I was walking out and we were by the door. And I grabbed him and said, very quietly, “To be violent, you don’t have to scream at people.” . . .

Mike D'Angelo:

Aaaaand I believe we've now reached perfect DRIVE equilibrium, with the backlash reaching the same operatic heights as the original hype.

Wait a minute... really? Apart from Glenn Kenny, who else has been "backlashing" this film?